West Virginia Tourism Study Released

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Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Tourism is up in West Virginia, but it isn't growing as fast as it once did.

Two studies commissioned by the Division of Tourism show that travel spending across the state totaled nearly 4 billion dollars in 2006. That's a 6.1 percent increase over the previous year.

The studies found that overnight travelers spent 1.2 billion dollars last year, while day visitors spent about 1.9 billion.

There was a 2 percent increase in overnight guests, which totaled 11.4 million last year. Of those, about 17 percent were from West Virginia.

There was no significant increase in the number of day travelers, which totaled nearly 40 million.

The studies also found that visitor spending supported 44,000 jobs in the travel, recreation and entertainment sectors last year.

The studies were conducted by Dean Runyan Associates of Portland, Oregon, and Longwoods International of New York City.

A similar study conducted two years ago showed travel spending increased 9.3 percent a year between 2000 and 2004.

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